All posts by Mike

Sunday’s ride- Fought for every mile!

Seen at the LaHonda duck pond. A duck! Who knew.
It really shouldn’t have been that tough a ride, but there’s no question that the cooler weather and the higher dose of meds I’ve been on the past couple months are beginning to catch up to me. That plus it was a solo event; Kevin was goofing off in Disneyland with his sister. Me? No time to goof off. Gotta keep moving! Despite what my platelet-controlling meds are doing to my hematocrit level. I’m actually looking forward to my next blood test, so I can confirm there are “reasons” for my recent decline, and it’s not just age and stress getting to me.

I was also testing out my latest medical safety gadget, an iWatch. Never thought I’d own one; the idea of a watch that you have to charge every single day has always put me off. My regular watch is solar powered and gets time signals over the air, so I never had to worry about setting it, or charging it. But, the iWatch has heart monitoring capabilities built into it, which allowed me to confirm that it’s not my heart that’s causing the haywire readings I’ve seen lately, but the standard heart rate monitors that talk to your bike computer. That’s a good thing.

The plan was the normal Pescadero/Tunitas loop, but by the time I dragged myself up Old LaHonda, about 25 minutes worth, I didn’t feel like I had another steep climb in my legs. Or lungs. And especially my left hip, which was not happy at all about my bringing a very heavy e-bike up the stairs to our shop’s work area for repairs on Saturday.

At the duck pond I sent a photo to my wife, who responded “I don’t see none ducks!” Well, they were there, just a bit tough to see. So I took another, closer photo and appropriately annotated it, as you can see here.

Odd day in Pescadero; virtually no cyclists. What’s with that? I picked up a Mtn Dew and chocolate croissant and headed north on Stage. The expected headwinds didn’t disappoint but there was no desire in either legs or brain to challenge them. I was just going through the motions, finding my way to the top of each of the two climbs on Stage Road. At the base of the third climb, heading towards Tunitas… I turned right, heading up 84 instead. This was not a ride where the legs felt stronger the further I went.

Heading back on 84 I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, going nowhere very fast, and suffered the indignity of some guy passing me with what looked like a backpack full of bricks. It took a couple seconds before realizing, this is not who I am. I picked up speed, wondering if it would be possible to match his pace, and, surprisingly, it was. I didn’t sit on his wheel but instead allowed him to pace me, maybe 10 meters in front. And I stayed there, even on the rollers, until he finally pulled off for some reason. Later I checked his ride out on Strava; he was doing 100+ miles, starting in San Francisco!

There wasn’t much left of me by the time I got home, but I definitely felt a lot better afterward than I did before. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty, but I held off… something… for 60 miles.

Maybe it’s not that I’m slow; maybe it just takes hours to warm up when it’s colder?

Slow as we were, we were having a better day than the two dead baby rattlesnakes we saw on West Old LaHonda.
We were determined to do the full regular ride this morning, although I was beginning to wonder if that would happen as Kevin began complaining about his knee shortly after leaving the house, as we rode over Jefferson to the start of the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride. Like Tuesday it was foggy; unlike Tuesday, it was also wet. Wet enough that we rode quite gingerly through the infamous corner where I slid out on black ice last February and cracked my pelvis in two places.

Who else rode with Kevin and I? That would be… nobody. We saw no other cyclists coming back from the “morning” ride, and only a couple heading down Kings as we were riding up. On the positive side, we noted that we were not passed by a single car the entire way up the hill. We are truly blessed by how little traffic we see when we ride. And we gave the cars plenty of time to find us too! I don’t even remember the time but it was probably around 34 minutes, and it was not feeling like it was particularly easy. But as the ride went, there were increasing opportunities to test my legs and discover they’d respond. The slight descent from Skyline down to West Old LaHonda on 84? I was able to go to the front and push it reasonably hard most of the way.

It was on West Old LaHonda where we came across not one but two small rattlesnakes, dead on the road. Both had likely been dropped by birds, as they had the characteristic puncture wounds (you can see that in the photo above). Thankfully it wasn’t an omen; our ride continued without incident.

I think I’m stronger than I actually feel right now; it just takes me forever to get warmed up. At least, that’s what I want to believe. In a couple weeks I’ll find out if there’s more to the story, when I go back for another blood test to see if my hematocrit level is still declining. If so, I’ll be making some adjustments to my medication, reducing it a bit in hopes that I can get my hematocrit back up to a reasonable level while maintaining a sale number of platelets at the same time.